“How far you go in your life depends on
your being tender with the young,
compassionate with the aged,
sympathetic with the striving,
and tolerant of the weak and strong.
Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.”
– George Washington Carver
The quote above reminds me of the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. As a child my Dad constantly quoted the Golden Rule to me. I say it to my children all the time “How would you feel if your brother said that to you?” Their response is always “not so good”. We try to teach our children from a young age empathy, understanding of others situations and feelings, and it is not an easy lesson. In fact in some of the psychology courses I took it said that children are not even capable of empathy until preschool age. However that does not mean I am not going to try to teach it to them early. Looking at that quote I think to myself how tender have I been with the young? As a mom I seem to explode more often than I would like to, I pray for patience daily, some days are better than others! But I try to use empathy whenever possible with my children by remembering when I was a child. The effect my sister being mean has on me today. I reach back into the past and tell my children when my sister treated me like that it made me dislike her until I was about 20 years old. After hearing that, and they know it is true, they make up with each other. We need to try harder to be tender with our young. I ask God for guidance constantly, sometimes it comes so easy but in the hectic pace of our busy world I have to work towards it more and more.
How often have you been on your way to an appointment and running just a few minutes behind so you think your car ride will certainly make up that lost time if you go faster? Then it happens! You have found yourself behind an older person who seems to be on a Sunday drive. You cannot go around them so you are going 20/mph and you know they are going to make you late! In those few minutes of being stuck most of us are not compassionate with the aged. Many of us are saying not so nice things in our heads about them. Some of us actually say those nasty remarks out loud and our children hear them. Someone once told me about this type of situation and put this thought to me, what makes us the driver running behind in this scenario more important than the older person in front of us. How is it that we really believe where we are going is more important than the person poking along in front of us. How selfish are we to think that they should just get out of our way. We don’t know where that person is going or what he/she has just experienced. Besides is it really that person’s fault that we are running behind or could we have left earlier like we should have to begin with? So next time you are in that situation instead of cursing that person try and have a little bit of empathy and compassion for our gray haired counterparts, for someday that will be you! Your children will learn to say those same things in the car when they learn to drive. Is that really what we want coming from our children?
At some point in our lives we will have been a child, elderly, striving, weak and strong and we all want compassion and to be treated with respect. We need to teach our children these values by our words and our actions. They learn more from what they witness and experience than from what we say to them. So try not to yell today, try to take a deep breathe and enjoy the ride when you are behind an older person and use kind words about them. Show your child you are sympathetic to the striving by helping with some type of charity work, do it with your child it is a memory they will cherish and build on for a lifetime. Show them how tolerant you are of the weak and the strong by having a diversity of friends and respect for others. Whether you want to or not all that you do teaches your children what type of person they will become and that is scary because we as moms are going to screw up all the time but that’s not bad either because no one is perfect. Today try to be more concsious of God’s presence within each of those situations and try to live the example of the golden rule so that your child will learn it through you. For us moms I think we can read the quote revised as the following:
How far your child will go depends on
how compassionate and empathetic You are to that child,
how respectful You are to the elderly,
how symapthetic You are to the struggling,
how accepting and friendly You are to the weak and strong,
because You are teaching Your child today
how Your child should treat the rest of the